Katters Australian Party leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has fired a warning shot at the outgoing Member for Leichhardt for again failing First Australians.
During a press conference in Cairns yesterday he promised to deliver housing funds power back to the remote local government bodies.
Mr Katter has been integral in the fight against the Federal Government alongside delegations of Indigenous Mayors in Canberra and around the electorate after the Government removed its Indigenous housing funding, handballing the issue to the State Queensland Government in the 2018 Federal budget and again this year.
Mr Katter said that during meetings held in Parliament, he was certain the money would have been allocated given a Federal election was imminent in a marginal seat – Leichhardt.
“Myself and half a dozen Indigenous Mayors had meeting-after-meeting with Minister Scullion and others, and I was certain he would give the money. To send the outgoing Member for Leichhardt into the election without the housing money was a foolish move. I think he’ll be crucified; he deserves to be crucified. The useless bastard.
“If I was in the Party in a marginal seat, I would have read the riot act to the Prime Minister. I would have said ‘get me the money or I’m walking. I won’t run in the seat if you don’t give it to me’. But of course, the outgoing Member for Leichhardt did nothing; that big, fat, blood-sucking, useless, toad.”
Mr Katter said house construction was one of the last decent jobs available to First Australians and that without the funding, they have since lost their Blue Cards and has ultimately widened the gap rather than closed it.
“The situation is appalling. The only bit of income they had was from the housing jobs.
“I was absolutely staggered. Yarrabah, the biggest community in Australia, has been left out. I was getting way back in the 1980s in the Queensland Government $25m a year then – about $60m now – for housing.
“So what do they have left?
“You’ve taken their timber rights off them.
“You’ve taken their quarry rights off them.
“You’ve taken their right to cattle off them.
“You’ve taken their right to water off them.
“You’ve taken their hunting rights of them.
“What have you left them, except Government jobs which they won’t get because they’ve all lost their Blue Cards. So what are they doing now?
“The only jobs left were in housing and this absence in funding destroyed them. Thank you Mr Government”, Mr Katter said.
“KAP Senate candidate Greg Wallace who is a First Australian said 70 per cent of houses would have maybe around 15 people in a house which was designed for four, with little tiny windows and costing $650,000.
“When Greg and Noel Pearson’s brother, Gerhardt Pearson, were in charge, they were building housing for one-tenth of that price because they were using work-for-the-dole; totally Indigenous local labour – they even made the concrete blocks.
“Under the Labor Party the block-making was abolished and never restored by the LNP. Then the LNP took away the housing money.
“Well they found the money for the Northern Territory for Nigel Scullion, he found it for himself. But the Outgoing Member for Leichhardt who is in the Government – who should have threatened to not run the seat again if they didn’t deliver this money – got nothing. Did nothing.”
Mr Katter said he had already received agreement from the Prime Minister to restore the market gardens for First Australian communities in the Far North and was confident that should there be a change in government, his positive working relationships with the proposed relevant Ministers would result in getting Indigenous housing back on the table along with the ‘work for the dole’ program.
“Don’t forget, it was Kevin Rudd after all that originally implemented the $1 billion Indigenous housing fund. Their track record is far superior in this space than the other lot of useless bastards,” Mr Katter said.